Thursday, September 6, 2012

Honorary Dog by Dora Wright

5 stars - loved it, will certainly read it again

Unless you can find this in your local library, you'll have to buy it used because, for reasons that are beyond me, it appears to be out of print (and no way I am lending you my copy, thank you very much).

I will relegate this one to crazy dog people and, especially, crazy dog people who are crazy about Airedales. If you fit those categories, I think you'll enjoy Honorary Dog.... a lot.

Dora Wright is quite a character. She is totally enamored with Airedales and raising them is her life's mission. So much so, that the other aspects of her life (which are significant, like marriage, child birth, divorce and war) get barely a mention as she draws the reader through her journey with her dogs.

Her writing style is delightful. The book contains lots of interesting stories about managing dogs of varying temperaments. She doesn't have a lot of material things. Folks who "make do" either through choice or circumstances will be intrigued with how she solves various issues, mostly to do with her crumbling cottage. 

If you are or have been a professional dog groomer, you'll enjoy the trials Ms. Wright undergoes with her various clients. No surprises, it usually isn't the dog who is the issue, it's the owner. Arg!

I admired her no-nonsense attitude about life and her ability to absorb grievous shocks and move on. Sadly, Ms. Wright passed away recently. A loss to both the dog community and her readers.

Still not convinced? Open the book at random and there is an interesting snippet on nearly every page. Here is one just to tease you (about one of Ms. Wright's client dogs):

"Pepe was another fifteen-year-old poodle who would eat nothing but fried lamb's liver. He was so fond of this that as soon as his mistress came in from the butcher's he would jump eagerly around her as she unpacked her basket. While she fried it he would sit drooling beside the cooker and could hardly wait for it to cool and be put down for him."

Then the owner decides to economize by switching lamb's liver for the cheaper ox liver.

"... he'd never know the difference. Oh no? No Pepe came to meet her when she came in. In spite of her cheerful calls and inviting chirrupings of 'dinner, boy' he remained obstinately in his basket while the ritual frying took place. She cut it up and put it down, but she had to collect him bodily and place him nose to dish. He turned away in disgust."


  1. Hah! I've never known ANY poodles like that. Ever. Except TaiChi. And Ben. And Billy. (Which would be all the full poodles I've ever had...) I'm going to have to hunt down a copy - and when I'm done, I'll give it to my dog trainer as a birthday present.

    -Dr. Liz, who is LOVING this bloggie already

  2. This sounds like fun. I'll have to look in some of the used book stores in town or maybe on Ebay.

  3. Ha - sounds just like Cousin Pretty Girl. Her salmon [or hamburger or chicken] has to be cooked just so or she won't touch it. Give her a hard boiled egg or any kind of cheese and she reacts like she's being poisoned. Jed actually likes it when she visits; he gets to eat her leftovers. [Abby just pouts and drools; no extras for her due to her super low fat diet.]

    We'll help mama search for this one.

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  5. Now THAT sounds like a book I could get into! I've read a lot of dog books and really enjoy it when the characters have a lot of "character" to them. People that know dogs know that each has it's own special personality, loves, and hates, and they really make life interesting!

    One of my sister's had a doxie mix that HATED the smell of lamb. She acted as if someone was trying to kill someone in any room that had the smell of lamb in it. She would hunker down and SLINK out of the room, looking over her shoulder like someone was after her. My sister raised this dog from a pup, and has no clue why she felt that way.